Proud Memphis native Myers is headliner at 'Hometown Throwdown'

Prosevere

Prosevere

'Hometown Throwdown'

6 p.m. Friday, doors open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. Tickets: two-day pass for $10, available at the box office, Spin Street Records, Re-Plays, Freewheelin’ Frank’s; by phone at 866-468-7630, and online at newdaisy.com. For more information, call 901-525-8979.

A Moment Shy

A Moment Shy

Surrender The Fall

Surrender The Fall

Looking For Alaska

Looking For Alaska

Aurora

Aurora

As guitarist for the platinum-selling hard rock band Shinedown, Zach Myers travels all over the world, but wherever he goes, people always want to hear about where he's from."The more successful you get or the more noticed you get, people are going to look into your background," says Myers, a Memphis native who got his start in music playing in the clubs on Beale Street when he was a teenager. "More so than when I was a kid and playing, now people focus a lot more on where I'm from, which is great because I'm a proud Memphian and always have been."

That sense of pride is what led Myers to sign on to headline this weekend's inaugural "Hometown Throwdown," a two-day local music festival at the New Daisy that organizers hope will breathe new life into the city's moribund heavy rock scene.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday with a lineup that includes Surrender the Fall, Swoon, This Tragic Day, Artifas, Seed, Tom Foolery, and Looking For Alaska. On Saturday, the doors open at 4:30 p.m. for what Segars says is a quickly-selling-out bill that includes Prosevere, Myers' local all-star side project The Fairwell, So She Sang, Arvada, Skyline Divide, Aurora, A Moment Shy, Augustine, Lights As Lenses, and the weekend's big draw, a closing acoustic Shinedown set featuring Myers and the band's lead singer, Knoxville native Brent Smith."The goal is to rebuild our local rock community and get these bands working together again," says Gary Segars, lead singer of the band Prosevere who conceived the event with concert promoter Ryan Gill. "What we tried to do is get bands from West Memphis and DeSoto County and Cordova and Midtown together to try and bring all those crowds together and get this rock scene kind of moving again."

Segars, who turns 30 on the first night of the Throwdown, remembers when Memphis was a national hot spot for hard rock music. There were a deep bench of talented local bands — Crippled Nation, Piston Honda and Logic 34 among them — who supported one another and a plethora of venues for them to play, not just the perennial New Daisy but also such scattered locales as The Complex near Downtown and the Skatepark of Memphis in Cordova. So much activity created a large and enthusiastic fan base and attracted major national touring acts to the city.

But as the music industry declined, so did the local rock scene. Venues closed, bands broke up, and audiences became more isolated from one another.

"I remember when the rock scene here was flourishing and one band got out and it made headway for a ton of other bands," says Segars, a veteran of bands like Every Passing Second and A Life Away who edited a local music website as a student at Olive Branch High School. "We've been lucky enough to be successful here in town with basically everything we've done. But a lot of these other bands don't know what it takes to make sure they've got a crowd every time, to make sure people give a damn that they're playing."

Prosevere, the four-piece Segars helped form back in 2006, has been one of the few groups to generate mass local appeal in recent years. The group has been touring nationally with bands like Bush and Hurt and is currently mulling over label offers as it prepares to record its second full-length album. Their achievements have made Segars all the more eager to give his fellow Memphis bands a hand up, a philosophy he shares with Myers.

"He's proud of where he's from," Segars says of Myers, who still resides in Memphis, where he can often be spied cheering on the Grizzlies at FedExForum. "There are a lot of people who would have just moved off."

A former guitar tech for bands like Three Doors Down and Saliva, Myers graduated from hometown hero to international touring superstar in 2005 when he signed on as touring guitarist for Shinedown, a Florida band that already had to its credit a platinum album and hit singles like "Burning Bright" and "Save Me." Myers soon became a full-time member of the band for the platinum-selling The Sound of Madness album and last year's Amaryllis.

Next month, Shinedown heads back on the road to co-headline a tour with Three Days Grace. But for all the international fame, Myers still remains committed to the local music scene. In fact, he goes out of his way to help local bands, briefly managing the group Sore Eyes and helping Prosevere and other locals get on with national touring acts.

"(Shinedown) has had a lot of success," says Myers, who blames disconnect fostered by the Internet for the decline of the local live scene. "We've sold 9 million records and have 17 No. 1 singles, so if I can help in any way with my hometown bands, I'm going to try and do that because I would have wanted that to happen with me when I was younger if our music scene was in such a state, — not necessarily disarray, but not what it used to be."

Organizers hope to make the Throwdown at least an annual, if not semiannual, event, with a changing lineup of bands.

Ideally, bringing such a large and varied collection of bands together will spark a renewed sense of community and motivate acts to collaborate on shows, venues and recordings. But if nothing else, Myers hopes the event shines a spotlight on local talent.

"It's a very eclectic array of bands, and that's another reason I wanted to jump on it because I knew it would draw attention to and draw people to see other bands," he says. "Seeing all these bands together, hopefully people will go, 'OK, there's a lot more to this scene.'

"There are so many great musicians here, man. I've literally been everywhere, and people talk about Austin (Texas). Yeah that's great, but there's no soul there. Same thing with Nashville. Nashville has amazing musicians, but it's all cut out of a mold to me. Here, it's different."

‘Hometown Throwdown’

6 p.m. Friday, doors open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. Tickets: two-day pass for $10, available at the box office, Spin Street Records, Re-Plays, Freewheelin’ Frank’s; by phone at 866-468-7630, and online at newdaisy.com. For more information, call 901-525-8979.

© 2013 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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